THIS EVENING DUBLIN City Councillors voted on a series of busking by-laws, which could change the face of street performance in the city.
The bye-laws will see the introduction of a permit system for performers, an 80 decibel limit on amplifiers and a limit of two hours on performances.
They will limit times in the city to between 9am and 11pm (with exceptions for Grafton Street). Buskers will not be able to stand within fifty feet of another entertainer.
Commenting this evening, Councillor Séamus McGrattan, who voted in favour of the bye-laws, said they will ensure that traditional busking will remain “part of the fabric of our city”.
“The new regulations will also protect residents and businesses as, for the first time ever, it gives them a chance to report unacceptable noise levels.”
“I feel these new [sic] bylaws are necessary as the issue of excessive noise and nuisance to residents and business by a small minority of buskers was getting out of hand,” he added.
One piece of good news for buskers is that proposals to introduce a ban on amplifiers in Temple Bar fell flat.
Ahead of the vote, Green Party councillor and arts spokesperson Claire Byrne says there’s a delicate balance to strike between maintaining the rich tradition of busking and street performance in Ireland and around the country, while also considering people who work and live in areas like Temple Bar.
It’s quite an emotive issue. We’re not trying to kill the culture, but there are concerns for people who work and live in these areas.
Declan O’Brien of the Temple Bar Residents’ Committee toldDailyEdge.ie that some performers in the area have begun to use generators and amps in recent years.
He says that the main square and the corner of Essex Street and Temple Street South are particular problem areas.
The irony is that busking is one of the reasons I love living in Temple Bar, and long may there be buskers there. It’s a shared space though and I would like to see the amps go.
Hugely successful Dublin busking band Keywest is leading a #SaveIrishBusking campaign.
They say that the 70 submissions relating to the use of amps in response to a public consultation on the bye laws aren’t representative of the Irish public (there were 88 submissions in total).
Keywest chiefly work in the Grafton Street area, which would see an 80 decibel limit implemented, among other changes, if the bye laws are passed.
The band claims that “some closed minded councillors would like to see busking gone”.
Councillor Byrne acknowledges buskers’ concerns, but says that the laws are by no means “draconian”:
I’m not trying to be a buzzkill here but 2,000 people live in Temple Bar and their concerns have to be addressed.
The Green Party feels that implementing an 80 decibel limit in other areas is “fairly reasonable”.
We also feel that the 11pm cut-off time, and the two hour performance windows are a fair compromise that will help protect workers and the rights of street performers to perform.
-Additional reporting by Michelle Hennessey